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YOUNG STUDENTS FROM THE BEDFORD-STUYVESANT Y JOIN BALLETNEXT, MICHELE WILES AND JAY DONN IN BENEFIT PERFORMANCE AT BAM FISHER (FISHMAN SPACE), MARCH 26

Thirteen young and gifted Bedford-Stuvyesant Y students will take to the BAM Fisher stage, along with BalletNext artistic director Michele Wiles and Brooklyn flex dance king Jay Donn in YNext, a special evening that jointly benefits the Y and BalletNext youth education programs. Featuring three dances—“Happy,” “Ushuaia” and “Something Sampled,” the show takes place in BAM Fisher (Fishman Space) March 26 at 7:30pm. The performance will be followed by a reception in the theater’s Lower Lobby. The children, between the ages of six to twelve, will perform “Happy,” choreographed especially for the youngsters by Michele Wiles, who continues to teach ballet at the Bedford–Stuyvesant Y after school program at P.S. 54. In addition to “Happy,” the March 26 evening reprises “Something Sampled,” which received its world premiere at New York Live Arts last month. The witty, surprise-filled 30-minute work, a collaboration between electro-acoustic composer/cellist Chris Lancaster, flex dancer Jay Donn and BalletNext artistic director and dancer Michele Wiles, juxtaposes and joins the 400–year old traditions of ballet with the more contemporary conventions of flex dancing, an art form born in Jamaica and developed in the streets of Brooklyn. Marking Wiles’s formal choreographic debut, “Ushuaia” also received its world premiere at New York Live Arts in February. The dance, a quartet comprised of three female and one male dancer, is set to a violin score by Henrich von Biber. Both works will be performed to live music.

ABOUT the artists

Michele Wiles founded BalletNext in 2011 in an effort to pair classically trained dancers and live musicians in a collaborative setting that encourages risk-taking with a focus on process. 

Born in Baltimore, Maryland, at age 10 she moved to Washington D.C. to train at the Kirov Academy on full scholarship. She was a Gold Medal winner at the 18th International Ballet Competition in Varna, Bulgaria; a Bronze Medal winner in Nagoya, Japan and a finalist at the Paris International Dance Competition. She was a Princess Grace Foundation – U.S.A. Dance Fellowship recipient for 1999–2000 and won the Erik Bruhn Prize in 2002. 

She joined American Ballet Theatre’s Studio Company in 1997 and joined American Ballet Theatre in 1998, where she was promoted to soloist in 2000 and to principal in 2005. She left ABT in 2011 to found BalletNext, where she remains artistic director as well as a dancer. “Ushuaia,” to music by Heinrich Biber, which she created this year, marks her formal choreographic debut.

Jay Donn, a highly energetic, daredevil Brooklyn-born dancer, is a founder of the Brooklyn dance style known as Flexing and creator of the sub-style, “Punchlines.” At age 15, he started his dance career on BCAT’s TV show, “Flex N Brooklyn” and saw a boost in his career when his group, Ringmasters, appeared on the third season of MTV’s “America’s Best Dance Crew.” He has been seen in many music videos alongside Elephant Man, Nicki Minaj, LMFAO’s Sky Blu, among others, and been in the feature-films “Step Up 3D” and “Flex is Kings.” He toured worldwide with Sky Blue’s Big Bad University and Company XIV’s ballet, “Pinocchio.” He regularly performs with electro-acoustic cellist composer, Chris Lancaster.

Chris Lancaster is an electro-acoustic cellist composer living in Brooklyn, New York. He trained as a classical cellist, but endeavors to expand the ideas of what a cello can be, and what sounds it can create. His solo compositions are performed live using a wide array of effects, samplers and speaker sculptures to create encompassing, cinematic and otherworldly sounds.

In 2014, the Bedford-Stuyvesant Y served 32,500 people, including 11,585 youth and teens in the communities of Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brownsville, Crown Heights, Fort Greene, and Clinton Hills; through a broad range of programs - including teen leadership development, children’s health and wellness, and after-school. The Y is helping to ensure that children and teens develop to their full potential in spirit, mind and body.

TICKET INFORMATION

Sponsor Ticket • $500 (for two people) includes: event sponsor program credit, prime seating, post performance event
Benefit Ticket • $100 (per person) includes: premium seating and the post performance event
Performance Only Tickets: $40/$15 (Student)

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Y Next is sponsored by Bed-Vyne Wine, Peaches Restaurant and Emblem Health. BalletNext and the Bedford-Stuyvesant Y education programs are funded in part by The Howard Gilman Foundation.

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